EL Support Lesson

Order the Trains

Kids love trains! In this fun locomotive inspired lesson plan, your students will get lots of practice ordering numbers.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Bear-y Fun Numbers! lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Bear-y Fun Numbers! lesson plan.

Students will be able to order numbers 0-20 from least to greatest.


Students will be able to explain how to order numbers 0-20 from least to greatest.

(10 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for the start of the lesson.
  • Display the cover of the book, Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing! by Patricia Hubbell and ask students to give a thumbs up if they have ever seen a train before.
  • Read aloud the book, pausing to take special notice of the train cars featured throughout.
  • Have students turn and talk to share with a partner answers to the following questions, "Do you think the train cars on the train are put in a special order? Which car is always first? How about last?" (review the images from the book showing the engine and caboose).
  • Say, "Today, we are going to practice making our own trains as we put numbers in order!"
(5 minutes)
  • Model counting from 0-20, using a number line you have drawn on the board.
  • Explain that when we count, there is always an order. We can start from zero and count in order to 20.
  • Write the numbers 0-5 on the board. Say, "Let's count these together." Count them aloud with students echo counting and think aloud to say, "Wait! Something is wrong. One of these numbers is out of order." Model how to use the number line to put the two and three back in the right places.
  • Using the Vocabulary Cards, explain the definition of least and greatest. Point to the number zero and say, "This is the least or smallest number on the number line, see how it is all the way to left, just like the train engine? Now let's look at number 20. It is the greatest or biggest number on the line, it is all the way to the right-just like the caboose!"
(5 minutes)
  • Draw three train cars on the board.
  • Tell the class that you need to order the trains from least to greatest and you need their help.
  • Write the number zero on the board and ask, "Which train car should zero go in?" Have students turn and talk to share their ideas with a partner.
  • Point to each car in turn and ask students to give a thumbs up when you point to the car where the zero should go.
  • Review the concept that zero is the least and must start on the left or in the engine.
  • Repeat process with the number one and two. If further practice is needed, draw additional train cars and order numbers 0-10.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to practice ordering their very own teen number train!
  • Display the worksheet and go over the directions.
  • Tell students that before gluing their train cars, they will get checked by a partner to make sure they are ordered from least to greatest.
  • Send students to work.


  • Have students listen to music videos in their home language (L1) counting from 1-10/20.
  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).
  • Pair students together to order the teen number trains.


  • Have students share which number would come next if the train went past 20 cars.
  • Ask students to explain to their partner how they know their train is ordered correctly.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room and assess if students are able to accurately order the numbers from least to greatest.
  • Collect work samples to take additional notes of student progress.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together.
  • Pass out dry erase boards and markers to each student.
  • Write THREE numbers (out of order) on the board.
  • Say, "Write the three numbers in order on your dry erase board from least to greatest. Then hold up your board when you are done."
  • Review the correct sequence of numbers and say, "You did an amazing job ordering numbers! Remember we order numbers to help us know what comes next."

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